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Cintas Releases 5 Tips for Effective, Sanitary Hand Washing

Studies show proper hygiene is key to preventing flu

CINCINNATI— October 24, 2011 – According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 13 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu every year, with active flu seasons seeing closer to 20 percent, or more than 62 million Americans. In order to promote cleanliness and help prevent the flu, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) today issued a list of tips for proper hand washing to serve as a reminder of the importance of proper hand sanitation. A hand washing program can significantly reduce illness and absenteeism from work and school – by as much as 26 percent—according to a study recently released by the American Journal of Infection Control.

“Hand washing is a vital first step in preventing the spread of infection,” said Mike Thompson, Senior Vice President, Cintas Facility Services. “Schools and businesses can harbor bacteria that result in the outbreak of common illnesses such as colds or the flu. To limit absenteeism and keep building occupants productive and healthy, we can all benefit from a proper hand washing program.”

Tips for proper hand washing include:

  1. Know when to wash. While it’s important to regularly wash your hands, it’s even more important to wash your hands after certain activities such as using the toilet, touching an animal, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. It can also be beneficial to wash hands after coming into contact with frequently touched items, such as door handles or light switches.

  2. Use soap and warm water. When possible, use warm water to wash hands. Warm water is more effective in removing the natural oils which can hold soils and bacteria. Use soap, preferably in liquid form, to further eradicate bacteria from the surface of the hand.

  3. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds. Massage hands, covering all areas of the hand in a rich lather, including areas between fingers and around the base of the hand. Continue rubbing the hands together for 20 seconds or until you sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

  4. Dry hands. After hands are clean, dry them with paper towels. To prevent contaminating freshly washed hands, use paper towels to touch door handles if exiting a restroom or other public area.

  5. Wash and sanitize. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), hand sanitizer is only considered sanitary if the solution contains 60 percent alcohol. Experts say washing with soap and water is first choice, especially if you have visible dirt on your hands. Hand sanitizer is an effective way to supplement regular hand washing.

“While it may seem like common sense, reviewing the proper steps for hand washing at the outset of the flu season can effectively reduce infection,” added Dave Mesko, Senior Director of Marketing, Cintas. “This helps students and businesses stay healthy, maintaining productivity and enabling us to all enjoy a safe winter season.”

For more information about Cintas’ solutions for facilities, please visit http://www.cintas.com/facilityservices/.

About Cintas:
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid and safety products, fire protection services and document management services to approximately 800,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.